Health is More Than Numbers

healthismorethanjustanumber

Are you tired of counting calories, measuring portions, and staring at a scale that makes you feel inferior?  Could you care less about your waist to hip ratio or if you’re an apple, pear, or banana?  What does that mean anyway?

I’m going to start with a disclaimer: this post is not for people who are already suffering from serious disease. You should not stop any current treatment plans you and your doctor have determined are for your benefit.  If you are currently being treated for disease please discuss any changes in your current routine BEFORE doing them.

When you are healthy, you feel better.  Health is about feelings.

So let’s talk about feelings.  Physical, emotional, and any other types of feelings you may feel.  Did you know that feelings are the quickest way to make lasting changes?  You remember things more clearly when you attach a feeling to it.  You do more of what feels good and avoid what feels bad naturally.  Unfortunately, many of us focus too much on the instant feelings (the comfort of losing yourself in a pint of ice cream) and don’t pay attention or make the connection of later feelings (bloating, depression, fatigue).  We crave the feel-good we had when were eating the ice cream without connecting the feel-bad we had a little bit later.  With a little more awareness (Watching from the WWW from the First Steps Post) you’ll learn to recognize what really makes you feel good.

Journaling is a tangible way to really see how what you consume affects your body.  We’re not talking about measuring out your foods and counting calories.  I literally mean write what you eat, the time you eat it, how you felt right afterwards and then write down any time you notice any changes in your feelings.  Did you get a headache?  Did you feel a lack of motivation?  Where you super jazzed and felt amazing?  Make note of physical activities you do and other self care things like Epsom salt baths and meditation as well.  At the end of the day look back over your notes and then again at the end of the week.  Look for patterns.

Sometimes it’s hard to pin point what exactly caused a certain feeling.  I know I was struggling with lack of motivation and irritability in the afternoon as well as a serious lack of energy.  I’m a total caffeine addict.  I was drinking a large cup of coffee in the morning, an energy drink, then soda, then another energy drink.  Obviously, I was also not consuming enough water.  Not only was I dehydrated but I was taxing out my adrenal glands, overworking my pancreas, and depressing some important systems with all the sugar I was consuming.  Of course I knew what I was consuming wasn’t helping me or healthy for me.  Unfortunately, I LOVE the rush of caffeine.  So I had associated the feel good energy buzz to drinking all that junk and not the crash and burn that happened shortly afterwards.  I’ve attempted to give up caffeine before and it wasn’t a pretty picture.  So I chose to give up my energy drinks and soda but keep my coffee in the morning and increase my water intake.  Of course I started feeling better but that wasn’t enough.  I hadn’t associated the bad feelings with all that junk yet.  So after a week I drank an energy drink.  Wouldn’t you know it, all those bad feelings returned.

Boom!  Connection made.  My craving for energy drinks was abolished.

I absentmindedly bought a soda the other day and had the same reaction of negative feelings.

Now I still love Dr. Pepper and my Blue Monsters.  My awareness of my reaction to them doesn’t mean I won’t ever consume them again.  It means I’m aware of it and I will make a conscious choice to consume it or not.  Instead of craving it and caving into that craving.

In other words, I’m in control now.

I don’t know about you but I’m very rebellious.  If I tell myself that I can never have something again it will be all I think about.  However, when I am aware of how things affect me I can make a choice on if I want to feel that or not.  No longer am I having to listen to my Willpower Mommy voice inside my head.  It’s not about willpower.  It’s about feelings and choice.  We are drawn to things that make us feel good.  Pay attention to what makes you really feel good (which is usually things that are healthy for us) and making those choices will be easier.

What feelings should you look for?

Make note of your energy levels throughout the day, which emotions are the strongest (especially depression), headaches, joint aches, muscle pains, painful skin, strained eyes, tummy pains, bowel movements, quality of sleep, how you feel when you’re trying to go to sleep, how you feel when you wake up, your motivation level to get things done, your sex drive, and .how external circumstances affect you.  Anything that is significant to you should be written down.

Once you see patterns, take action.

Elimination diets work wonders to determine which foods/drinks are the culprit and helps you connect the feelings to it.  Take out what you think might be causing negative feelings for a week or two and then slowly introduce them back in one at a time.  If you have a negative reaction to something, take it out again and make the connection.

Look at you being all in charge of your life now.  If; however, you are still struggling with self acceptance, self love, and self forgiveness, then you should definitely check out my next blog post.  In the mean time, make sure you like this post, don’t forget to follow this blog, and please share with the people you love!

By the way, how are you feeling right now?  Leave me a comment below utilizing your new found self awareness.  Much love and light until next time.

WWW – 1st Steps

www

WWW no longer stands for World Wide Web.  Nope, this is much bigger.  This is about taking your life back.  It’s about learning how to feel amazing.  It’s about KISS baby.

Keep It Simple Silly…

WWW stands for:

Water

Walking

Watching

And these three words, my friend, are going to be your first step in feeling your best.  If you do nothing else, don’t listen to anything else I ever tell you, listen to me now.

Drink water.  No really, drink it.  Yes it can be tea, no it can’t be coffee, yes there’s a difference between tea and coffee.  Yes you can add fruit, no, you can’t add sugar.  A little bit of honey is okay.  Now we’re getting a little complicated.  Typically I tell people to drink 1/2 their body weight in pounds in ounces of water.  For instance, if you weigh 100 lbs you’d drink 50 ounces of water.  That’s pretty solid advice up to about 250 lbs.  Trying to drink more than 2 gallons of water a day might prove to be difficult for some… most.  So if you fall above 250 lbs I’d say shoot for 1 – 2 gallons a day.  I know, I know, that sounds like an awful lot and if you try to drink it all at once it will totally mess up your system.  I have a 28 ounce water bottle that I tote around with me everywhere.  Anytime someplace I go to has a filtered water fountain I fill my purple bad boy up.  I typically drink between 4 and 5 bottles a day, that’s around 2 gallons a day.  Boom – I’m hydrated.  I have this nifty little app on my phone called Plant Nanny (find it here: iPhone Android Windows) that helps remind me to get my water in and helps when I’m wanting something a little less water-like and a little more crash-my-blood-sugar-like to remind me water makes me feel better.

Start walking.  Now if you’re already walking or jogging then keep doing what your doing and work on picking up the pace.  This is for people who are just starting out.  Who don’t know where to start and haven’t done physical activity in quite some time.  You may have restrictions, limitations, or have to do modifications.  That’s all fine.  The point is to start moving.  Don’t over do it.  Your first objective is not to become winded and have sore muscles the next day, your first goal is to consistently move every day for a week.  I mean move more than your regular every day physical activity.  That may be walking to the mailbox and back or that may be adding on another mile.  Either way, you’re doing awesome and you’re moving.  Work on consistency first, we’ll pick up the pace later.

Now watch.  I don’t mean hide in your neighbor’s bushes with binoculars.  I mean take notice of yourself.  of your body.  of your emotions.  of your mental abilities.  If you’ve been dehydrated and sedentary you might be surprised at the changes with yourself once you start hydrating and moving.  I don’t want you to just watch what happens with drinking water and moving though.  Pay attention to how you feel after you eat (do you eat to fullness or just satisfaction), after you complete a day at work, after you make love to your partner, etc.  How do you feel after everything.  Make note of what feels good, what keeps you happy, what gives you energy, helps you sleep, etc.  Do more of that.  Also notice when something doesn’t make you feel good.  Maybe you’re lethargic, depressed, not motivated.. Stop doing those things.

Quite literally if you follow these three steps you will automatically start making changes that help make you feel better.  You’ll be more aware of what is holding you down and keeping you back from living a healthy, happy, and joyful life.

We’ll go further into detail about these steps and many others.  This is just to get you started.  We won’t be looking at measurements by the way.  Health is about more than just a number.  So if you’re tired of weighing, measuring, and counting, you’ll love my next blog post.

Remember, if you like what you read, please like this post and share it!  You never know who it will help!